Whether you are moving or just moved to the Portland Metro area or you have lived here all your life there are always new adventures to be experienced a short hop from your front door!
Are you feeling like you need to get out and explore the beautiful great wide open of Oregon? We can’t blame you, but the choice of which region to head off to and what to see, can be overwhelming. Fear not, we can give you a good description of the type of terrain, activities, and entertainment you will find there.
Here are our top three local regions you can explore with an easy drive from PDX. See which ones speak to you the most before you depart on your journey.
3 Regions In Driving Distance To The Portland Area
The range of topography just outside Portland is vast. You can sit peacefully by the rolling ocean waves one day, and then hike endlessly up snow-covered peaks the next. This makes Oregon one of the most sought after spots for the avid adventurer.
If the Portland Metro area is your home base, then you can venture out to these three local regions; the epic Oregon Coast, the awe-inspiring Mount Hood, and the sultry suburbia of Vancouver WA, all within an easy driving distance from the city and your front door.
Vancouver WA Region –
Vancouver Washington resides just across the river from us with just over 160,000 people. It’s a big city with a small neighborhood feel near The Cascade Mountains and the Columbia River, and yet feels like its own little world once you enter. The iconic steel bridge that you drive over reminds the traveler of this city’s original industrial past. Vancouver has a city-like outer shell with a charming small-town heart, lined with turn of the century homes. Vancouver is heralded as the oldest city in Washington state.
You can explore historic sites and learn about the Lewis and Clark expedition. Tour historic reenactments at Fort Vancouver and visit other local museums. Spend some time strolling along the shop-lined streets and enjoy some of Vancouver’s delightful eateries. If the craft brew scene is your thing, then you will love the many craftsmen microbreweries in the area.
Place To Explore Here:
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
Located in the heart of the historic fur trade in the Pacific Northwest. Discover the various cultures who lived and worked here. Hike along trails on the Columbia River. Immerse yourself into costumed programs and hands-on activities while you connect with history.
Address: 612 E Reserve St, Vancouver, WA 98661
Mount Hood Region –
In over an hour from Portland, the tallest summit can be climbed on Mount Hood. The Mount Hood Region, with its breathtaking views and diverse recreation, has it all. Any outdoor enthusiast would enjoy camping, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, tubing, hunting, and exploring the great outdoors. All year, in every season there is some type of outdoor activity that will call you. With endless trails, and many taverns and lodges to warm up afterward, it’s an adventure seekers dream.
The region contains its most precious gem being Mount Hood and it’s considered the second most climbed mountain in the world. This towering range boasts of 11 glaciers, and skiing is accessible year-round down its snow-packed trails.
Place To Explore Here:
The lake is a wonderful spot for fishing, camping, canoeing, kayaking, and nature photography in the summer months and nordic skiing in the winter. The picturesque views of Mount Hood will take your breath away. Enjoy the fresh air and family time hiking on the Trillium Lake Trail (2 miles long) around the lake.
Location: Clackamas County, Oregon
Oregon Coast Region –
The region of The Oregon Coast is a seaside treasure that’s only a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown PDX. In actuality, it will take about a 90 min drive west for you to reach the shore. The Coast offers picturesque rocky views, miles of sandy beaches, parks and recreation, artist communities – tucked away, various fishing charters, delicious seafood, and that pacific northwest surfing. Take a few long walks along the shoreline, and investigate tidal pools filled with fascinating sea creatures as curious sea birds dive into the waves.
The coastal region has hundreds of hiking trails, historic lighthouses, seaside parks, and whale watching, where visitors can connect with nature and let their thoughts be at rest. It has been estimated that about 18,000 whales can be seen migrating up and down the coastline twice a year. Make a reservation at any one of the numerous beachfront resorts and enjoy a mini getaway on or off-season.
Place To Explore Here:
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
Looking for that jaw-dropping place that fills your spirit with hope and rejuvenation? Check out this Oregon Coast experience! This wild and undisturbed region of nature has 27 miles of coastal hiking trails. You can observe 300-year-old trees, and steep majestic cliffs while visiting Arch Rock, Natural Bridge, and Thunder Rock Cove. All within a stretch of 18 miles and it’s simply stunning every step of the way.
Location: Oregon Coast Hwy, Brookings, OR 97415
Portland Regions Offer Four Seasons Of Fun
So, in light of reviewing those gorgeous local regions, living within the Portland Metro area is like being in the central hub for exploring just about everything you may want to experience; cuisine, shopping, adventure, and entertainment. Just think, you can enjoy one day in the mountains and the next day strolling along the river and the day after that resting by the shore. There are so many possibilities to choose from that you need to give them all a try!
Yes, we certainly are quite lucky to have unique vistas and varied seasonal experiences right at our fingertips. Jotting out to see the city lights and then heading to ski down powdery mountain trails, or sipping your favorite craft brew and then dashing off to surf the Pacific waves, doesn’t seem so far fetched at all. The Portland area is pretty prime living if you ask us. So, don’t forget to explore your own “backyard”. Get back out there and savor some of that fresh outdoor air!